Tuesday's first guests on the “Mornings unPHILtered” show were Mike Backus, the director of development at the Boys and Girls Club of Bulloch County, and Karl Peace, who is the co-chair of this year's fundraiser for the clubs.
The Boys and Girls Club of America is leading their national fund raising campaign, which officially kicks off next week, and is entitled “It Just Takes One.” Deciding to set a personal example, Dr. Peace decided to challenge Bulloch County to help the Boys and Girls Clubs in a big way.
Peace said it all began for him when he went to Walmart and challenged the company to donate money for the club. He told Walmart he would match their donation up to $2,500. After some consideration, Peace said he decided to extend this challenge to the entire business community, and said he will match any and all donations to the best of his ability.
Peace and Backus told host Phil Boyum their point is that one person, or just one business, can make a huge impact on one child, or possibly many children, in our community. Peace said it is a proven fact that those children who participate in programs at the Boys and Girls Club actually do better on the testing in their schools.
Peace said he left private practice 10 years ago to work with the Jiann-Ping Hsu School of Public Health at Georgia Southern University.
Backus said after reading Peace's autobiography, “Paid In Full,” he decided that Peace was the perfect man to serve as the club's fundraising co-chair. Peace said he was more than happy to join with Darin Van Tassell as this year's chairmen of the event.
Backus said the Boys and Girls Club provides valuable services to local youth including character and leadership development, sports fitness, and many other programs. Backus said the club had to shut down its Denmark and Portal units because of budget shortfalls, and they now operate solely out of the center in Statesboro.
Backus said the need is great, and the cause is important, so has high hopes the community will step up and meet Peace's challenge. In fact, Peace issued a challenge on the program for other community leaders to step up to the plate and join him in matching the donations that the Boys and Girls Clubs receive.
For those interested in donating, go to www.bgcbulloch.org and download the donation form, which they can then mail in. Amounts of $250 or more will go to sponsor a child's activities at the club for a year. People who want to donate are invited to call the club at (912) 764-9696 or even call either of the men at their homes: Backus at (912) 515-4051 and Peace at (912) 681-6980.
Boyum next welcomed Barry Turner and Trish Tootle, from Ogeechee Technical College's “iGot” fundraising campaign, which is the school's major fundraiser. The campaign helps fund the many programs at the college, which is now experiencing its greatest period of growth.
Turner, OTC's public relations director, said businesses can make a donation to a specific field or program, as many of these programs actually provide trained graduates for these same local businesses. Businesses can also make larger donations in order to set up scholarship programs, which will ensure that they are provided with a steady stream of graduates.
Tootle, a vice-president at Farmers and Merchants Bank, said she has been working on the fundraiser with the college for many years, both as a community member and as an employee of FMB. She said people have no idea how many Ogeechee graduates they probably run into on a daily basis as they carry on their business or do their chores about the county.
Tootle said FMB employs a number of OTC grads as customer service agents, bank tellers and as members of the accounting team. As such, Tootle said she can personally attest to how the bank and the community as a whole benefits from the work being done at OTC. Turner said right now the college has more medical programs than anything else, so whenever anyone goes to the hospital or doctor's office, they most likely will run into an Ogeechee graduate.
Turner said right now the college has a 95 percent job placement rate. People can call the college at (912) 681-5500 and make a donation to the “iGot” campaign or they can stop by the Kennedy Building on campus. People can even go online to www.ogeecheetech.edu, where they will find a link that will take them to the donations page. “Mornings unPHILtered” airs live Monday through Friday from 9 a.m. to 10 a.m. on statesboroherald.com and also simulcast on WWNS-AM 1240 on the radio. You also can listen anytime at BoroLive.com on statesboroherald.com